Skift Take

Whole World Water's goals are ambitious, but they are off to a running start with some very public figures and well-known hotels already signed on to help.

Today an estimated 780 million people worldwide are without access to clean and safe drinking water, and 2.4 billion lack access to basic sanitation.

This according to WHOLE WORLD Water, a social enterprise that’s attempting to unite the hospitality and tourism industry behind this common cause. The fund is working with hotels, resorts, and restaurants to assist them in filtering, bottling, and selling their own water with the end goal of contributing 10 percent of their profit back to clean and safe water programs.

The idea was first conceived when co-founder Karena Albers visited the Soneva Fushi in Maldives and saw the sustainable business model in action. Albers explained to Skift that hotels have the opportunity to make money by bottling and selling their own water.

Another perk is engagement in the global marketing platform that increases the hotel’s environmentally-friendly branding among competitors and consumers.

Luxury sector responds

Many hotels already have their own corporate social responsibility initiatives, but the campaign is unique in its effort to combine those individual efforts behind one campaign.

The campaign has already signed on some major luxury hotels including Soneva, Virgin Limited Edition, Virgin Hotels, Tao Restaurant Group, The Ritz-Carlton, and Oberoi Hotels and Resorts, but co-founders Jenifer Willig and Albers say they want hotels from all levels to get involved.

“We’ve been talking to every single hotel group out there. The luxury end is responding, but many more will come onboard.”

The campaign’s goal is to recruit 1,000 hotels to adopt the sustainable business model. The co-founders say they are currently in talks with several of the largest hotel groups.

Industry support

Whole World Water already has some big names supporting it including Richard Branson who touts the new campaign on his blog.

“This is actually a perfect environmental scheme because it makes a contribution to protecting the environment; saving shipping costs, sea pollution, financial and environmental costs; and it offers a convenient way for guests to make it possible for more people globally to access to clean and safe drinking water.”

The campaign will officially launch on World Water Day, March 22.

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Tags: charity, health

Photo credit: Helena Carlica Nhunho pumps water in Machanga District, Mozambique. Organizations help build a water supply network for drinking, sanitation, and irrigation. Trocaire / Flickr

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